HR needs to raise the bar on recruitment, says report

There is a need to raise the bar in HR recruitment to avoid the “lottery” that currently exists in finding the right people for the industry, according to a report released today.

The “Raising the bar in HR recruitment (cobblers’ children)” report, produced by the Oakleaf Partnership, highlighted a number of issues in HR recruitment that can stand in the way of effective performance in the HR function.

The report found that only 11% of respondents are satisfied with their HR hires 12 months after appointing them, and 24% said that they felt HR recruitment is worse, or much worse, than recruitment in other business areas.

The report, which surveyed almost 500 senior HR professionals, also highlighted the fact that 74% of respondents saw poor culture fit as the main reason behind an unsuccessful hire.

At a launch event for the report, it was suggested that HR should strengthen its relationships with its suppliers, and this supported the report’s finding that 67% of respondents said that HR agencies need to get to know their clients better in order to improve the recruitment process.

Richard Colgan, managing partner of Oakleaf Partnership, says: “Our research clearly shows that there is a need, at an operational level, for improvements in the recruitment of HR professionals, and at a strategic level, culture needs defining not just for today’s business environment but for the future journey. Raising the bar will enable the business to be more successful, which will itself be a catalyst for, and enabler of, HR change.”

In a question and answer session at the launch, it was suggested that one of the main challenges for HR was to increase its alignment with wider business needs. Linda Kennedy, group HR director at Yell, said that HR should reduce its focus on strategy and what she called “navel-gazing” and “existential angst”.

She said: “It’s not about strategic HR – HR should be figuring out what the business needs to do and then figuring out what it can do to support that. If you have that bit right, the rest should follow.”

Tracey Hahn, HR lead (Europe, Middle East and Africa) at Merrill Lynch, said that there was a need for better HR leadership in order for HR teams to better understand what they stand for and what they need to do as a function.

It was also suggested that raising the bar in HR recruitment would be more difficult seeing as there was no longer a “steady state” in HR, and that the new steady state is in fact made up of continuous change. Expanding on this, Colgan claimed that “volatility is the new norm”, and that in the light of this new report, HR needs more than ever to know what business needs from it.

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